Let’s talk trivia.
I love trivia nights at bars and restaurants. When a friend recently showed me HQ Trivia, a free twice-a-day game show app on iOS and Android, I immediately became hooked. Heck, I was even jealous of showed like Nick Arcade and Video Power because I would have loved (and still would love) to host some kind of video game trivia show. For a chunk of my life, game shows were a big deal.
When I was growing up, I started enjoying game shows through being babysat by my grandmother. Family Feud, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune were big on her television, as well as with most of my family that I spent extended amounts of time with. I blame most of these for my love of esoteric trivia and pop culture know-how. Game shows have been a pretty large staple of television culture and that was apparent even back in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. If there was a chance to capitalize on the popularity of a piece of broadcast media, some company usually found some way to jump on the chance to seize the opportunity.
Two companies seemed strongly involved in translating game shows to the small pixelated screen: GameTek, who made their start from making adaptations in the late 1980’s and closed in the 1997 after making a number of licensed games, and High-Tech Expressions, who had a reputation for making children oriented games after their founding in 1988 and also closed their doors in 1997. While neither of them are around anymore (though some of GameTek’s assets have been brought over to Take Two Interactive Europe), they left a potpourri of game show related works across not only the NES, but also on a few other systems.
Given that these game show related games don’t particularly have the substance to warrant a full review each, I’ve decided to dive into some of these- a whole bunch of which I remember- and throw together some mini-reviews to see how these game stand up as entertainment. I’ve broken them down into categories to help limit the guidelines of what they are being judged on, since there’s obviously no plot, leveling systems, or anything else of the sort to dissect.
In this first entry, I’ve checked into four game show adaptations, two from GameTek and two from High-Tech Expressions: MTV’s Remote Control, Double Dare, Win Lose or Draw, and the classic Jeopardy. If you’re interested in seeing how some licensed games are torturing me or fulfilling my old-school gaming habit, come on down!